Hepatitis doc's punishment does not fit the crime


Review-Journal Wednesday news flash: "Doctor gets probation, fine, reprimand in hepatitis outbreak:

"Dr. Eladio Carrera, a co-owner of the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada, received two years probation, a $15,000 fine and a public reprimand today from the Nevada State Board of Medical Examiners for his role in a hepatitis outbreak that infected some patients at his clinic and resulted in public health officials advising tens of thousands of other patients to be checked for exposure to hepatitis and HIV."

Hey, works for me.

I know, I know, the Medical Examiners aren't authorized to undertake criminal prosecutions, nor is that the proper forum in which victims and their families should seek redress if slipshod care caused actual harm.

But wasn't the assertion that Dr. Carrera and his pals authorized the routine sidestepping of accepted sterile procedures and safeguards, risking infection — heck, actually infecting — multiple patients with serious communicable diseases? And that they did all this to "speed things up" at their butt-reaming mills, using unclean equipment and contaminated syringes to maximize profits — actually incurring extra profits to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars?

The examiners could have cleared the good doctor, of course, if the evidence wasn't convincing. But they didn't do that.

So the message of the Board of Examiners is: Write "too many" painkiller prescriptions for patients who are actually in chronic pain and we may very well yank your license. But if you choose to knowingly put your patients at risk of potentially deadly infectious diseases in order to make a couple hundred grand per year in extra profits, and you get caught, we're going to say 'Naughty, naughty,' send you right back to work, and fine you $15,000"?

Like I say, it works for me. Maybe I'll get into that business. One question, though: can I pay my $15,000 fine IN ADVANCE of making my extra half million bucks in annual profits, so we don't have to bother with a bunch of bothersome evidentiary hearings, later on?